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The Yellow~Ribbons Project - Quilters who care

Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 05:37:22 +0000
From: "Karen Bush" <karenbush11@hotmail.com>

I'm going to jump in, and maybe haven't read enough of my digests to
what you all are talking about, but,..
This is a good comment on the imported quilts. Especially those
from the
East. I was thinking a lot over these posts and wondered, maybe these
DON'T know the difference in workmanship, or, can afford to care.
It's their livlihood, made possible by demands from companies who
contracts and need them QUICK. Like the saying goes "do you want it
or want it fast". That's where the $$ are. In VOLUME for these
Doesn't seem to have made too much difference in our protest over
I see it as the only way we can keep getting the message across is
to keep
putting the quality quilts OUT there in the world. Including the
in Fabrics.
I'm amazed at the people who clammered over the two imports I had
at my
shop over the HAND QUILTED quilts by me,...I also put a disclaimer on
imported quilts that I wasn't to be responsible for the wear on these
quilts, but DID give a guarantee on Mine. Didn't seem to matter. It
was a
log cabin, the price was low, it was hand quilted (although 3 crooked
stitches to the inch) and VERY poor fabric.
KEEP up the good works in getting the message out with the
workmanship/fabric, etc. I'm trying to at this end, it's an uphill
If I've spoken out of turn, or, about the wrong subject, please
me. I've been out of touch and haven't caught up on my digest yet. kb
Quilts that are made overseas for importation would add a lot more to
our cross-cultural understanding if they included design elements,
symbols, icons, traditions, and cloth of the nation's where they are
being made. These quilts would be desirable to collectors, they
celebrate the

http://www.karenbushquilts.com-Member of TAS-The Applique Society

Karen Bush


Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 10:41:18 +0100
From: Dorothy Osler <do@osler.demon.co.uk>

Having just picked up on the correspondence relating to the British
Rural Industries Bureau (RIB) scheme in the 1930s, can I clarify one
two points based on my research in South Wales and the North of
in the 1980s (and published in 'Traditional British Quilts' - pp.
100-102 and 148-150).

Firstly, classes were only introduced in South Wales, not in County
Durham in the North of England. In Durham the RIB were able to find
enough experienced quilters because many of the quilters they used
run quilt 'clubs' in the mining villages of County Durham (see
Traditional British Quilts, pp.122-125). They therefore had competent
design and technical skills and only needed to be supplied with
materials for the London market. They worked as individuals, not in

In South Wales, the situation was rather different. Quilting as a
traditional craft appears to have declined to a greater extent before
the 1930s than in the North of England. There was therefore not a big
enough pool of experienced quilters on which to draw for the RIB
So the RIB set up classes and trained young girls (who were not
otherwise engaged in employment). I myself interviewed two of these
'young girls' in the 1980s (by which time they were in their 70s),
of whom was the maker of the quilt that features as a design by Enid
Marx on the dust cover of Mavis FitzRandolph's book (treasure it if
have it).

The South Wales quilters therefore worked in groups. Whether it was
because of this or the influence of Mavis FitRandolph who spent more
time in Wales I don't know, but they were certainly better geared to
marketing than the Durham quilters.

To what extent the scheme alleviated poverty is debateable but it
certainly produced some stunning wholecloth quilts. Many survive and
more keep 'appearing' as makers and owners from that generation pass

Dorothy Osler


Date: Thu, 20 Jun 02 09:54:28 -0600
From: woodford <haq@galenalink.net>

Just to add a few comments about the presence of quilting outside of
US. My son brought back a patched wall hanging from Nepal. Covered
embroidery, not truly quilted, but patchwork nevertheless. Also, last
year I was fascinated by an exhibit at the Chicago Art Institute of
African costume that was exquisitely patched and quilted. I can't
find my
notes right now so can't tell you the age or the country.

Additional comment: The one time I was at the Quilt Festival in
my booth was next to that of two fellows who were selling African
fabrics. They were sold out before the show was over, and I was
there twiddling my thumbs.

Robin. I went to the Forum last year. Then it was mostly about
and very informative for me since that is an area about which I knew
nothing. Rabbit is a great teacher. The museum collection of quilts
fabulous. I would imagine at Lowell there will be more of an emphasis
quilts. I think it would be well worth the $200.

Barbara Woodford


Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 12:30:17 -0700
From: Gaye Ingram <gingram@tcainternet.com>

Re Karen's and remainder of the discussion of reproductions,

I've been interested in the various points of view taken to this
effect on the women making the cheaper (or not) foreign copies, the
on American women actively involved in quilt making, the effect on
collectors and the market, etc.

It would be interesting to consider this issue alongside the question
earlier: "Why do we buy quilts?"

And I think most people buy, save, preserve, or make quilts from a
that is fundamentally artistic---the yearning for, the love of

And artistic beauty is inextricably connected to an act of
imagination--first, in its maker whose act of imagination produced
the work
in question; second, within the viewer who is led by the work of art
into a
reflection of "truth" or "the nature of life."

I know I've referred to Keats' famous "Ode on a Grecian Urn" on this
before, but it is perhaps the best description we have of the way art
So please bear with me just once more. In the poem, the speaker
comes upon
an urn from ancient Greece in a (British) museum. Looking at the
object and the scenes depicted on it, he is led ask questions which
factual answers---who specifically are these people? where are they
is that boy in love with that girl? The urn is a "silent form" and
yield the answers the speaker seeks.

Yet, it does something better: it engages and ignites the faculty of
imagination. The young man begins to put himself in the scenes, to
empathize, and consequently to reflect on the meaning of what he is
He sees the young lover who is pursuing a girl, his fingers almost
her. And Keats the writer (and, we must admit) the speaker
understands in
that frozen moment the most perfect moment of love---he realizes the
will never kiss his love, that their love is never consummated in the
the urn tells----and yet he also understands that the two will be
young" and their love "forever panting." The young man will not see
beloved's beauty fade or their love change. Their blessing is to be
in the moment of greatest happiness. The reader who knows anything
Keats' life understands the poignancy of this realization, for Keats
too had
just found his first true love---at the same time he realized he had
contracted the consumption that had just killed his brother. The
famous conclusion---"Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty"---simply means
that we
are led to Truth not by rational acts, but through imaginative acts,
are triggered by contacts with beauty.

What does this mean for quilts and why we buy them and the place of
bad and good? Well, it seems to me that a theme running through our
discussion has been the personal connection with the maker and though
unspoken, the understanding that art is individual and essentially
imaginative. Even working with a conventional pattern, the person who
produces a work of art, however humble, is the one whose sense of
color is
somehow personal and whose skill in quilting and sewing individualize
work. Our imaginations are engaged by the beauty. We learn from our
with it and are drawn to wonder about its maker (or, in nature, its

I recently purchased a Double Wedding Ring quilt top from the 70's,
just to
have a representative double-knit fabrics of the era. But it is a
object, no life. It could have been made in Bangladesh or Des Moines.
It did
not "speak" to me nor, I suspect, will speak to anyone else. The same
I purchased an unfinished "Seven Sisters" top, with included a box
with the tiny, carefully cut remaining pieces needed to finish the
quilt. In
its perfectly, precisely wrought seams I discovered its maker, a
woman given
to excellence in small things. I see the dresses she made, the aprons
created to elevate the domestic life of her home. I am reminded of
importance of excellence in small things, of beauty in the making of
a home
and life. In other words, the beauty of that piece led me to
reflections on life. I want to know the woman who started this quilt,
just KNOW she is Germanic, Midwestern), and her precision has led me,
Southern and a little more given to the broad gesture than to
precision, to
take great care to duplicate her neat stitches as I complete her
quilt top.
In some ways, mine is an act of love or duty to her. That is what art
And art is the product of the individual imagination.

Perhaps I am alone in this response, but so far, not one of those
Bauer or Ebay repro store quilts has "spoken" to me. When I've seen
them on
beds, I've not been moved by them. A student gave me one to use when
we sat
outside our classroom for class discussions. We found it so dull, we
to turn it design-side down. And still its cheap fabric scratches our

I think, therefore, there will always be a market for the quilts
which we in
this group cherish and produce. There are always levels of taste,
based on
experience, and one becomes more discriminating with experience.
Don't you
think that the person who must make her bed with that foreign or
cheap repro every day will understand the superiority of the
Seven Sisters quilt she one day encounters? And if she can afford it,
will likely purchase it. That failing, maybe she will do what so many
of us
have done---learn to make her own quilt. And as we know too well, one
does have a way of leading to another.

So we need to expose wider and wider audiences to the real art of
quilting---encourage "high art" museums to mount quilt shows that
quilts made for domestic use as well as pieces made as high art;
children to the art of fine quilts in their history classes as well
as in
their art classes---well, you get the idea.

If cultural experience does create a national "personality" even in
the 21st
century---and I think it does---then American quilts made by
Americans will
almost inevitably have value as American voices, just as British
quilts made
by Brits or Aussies or Africans will have similar cultural value. And
will differ. And if they are creative, they will speak to us---in
voices, of different experiences.

Now, I am going to practice some Midwestern Germanic precision while
listening to Dolly Parton's "Little Sparrow" cd in the extravagance
summer here in the North Louisiana hills.



Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 11:14:10 -0700 (PDT)
From: Ark Quilts <quiltarkmv@yahoo.com>

In my humble opinion and inside the inner workings of
brain, Gaye Ingram's comments motivated this question:
How creative is it to make 1,000's of imported
quilts just alike?

Is it a product of individual creativity? No, mass
production, manufacture, and commercial endeavor.

Does it promote individual creativity? No.

Does it foster or promote the cultural art form and
talent ot the maker or is it representational of the
maker's culture? No.

Does it impact the existence of domestic folk art and
quilt art? (from whatever country it exists in) Yes,
not always positively.

Final answer, imported quilts are a product of
commercial endeavor, not individual creativity. In
the future, those working to make imported quilts
today may or may not adapt it into their own form of
creativity. Has this happened in the last 15+ years
since imported quilts have hit the market? Right
now it is a cookie cutter process, not individually
creative and not on the same level as domestic folk
art and quilt art as we know it. Imported quilts do
not educate or enlighten the understanding or
appreciation for our domestic folk art and quilt art.

It is a free market and anyone can make and sell
anything they like--no problem with that. However, if
the items diminish,detract from , or misinfrom the
public about the original art form on which it is
based.......then it is skewing the general knowedge
about domestic folk art and quilt art and the
perspective on the art in history.


Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 13:55:17 -0600
From: Xenia Cord <xenia@legacyquilts.net>

Gaye said: <So we need to expose wider and wider audiences to the
art of
quilting---encourage "high art" museums to mount quilt shows that
quilts made for domestic use as well as pieces made as high art;
children to the art of fine quilts in their history classes as well
their art classes---well, you get the idea.>

...which is a perfect segue into an announcement I am very excited to
make. The wonderful, heartwrenching, uplifting "America from the
Heart: Quilters Remember September 11, 2001" exhibit will be seen in
the Midwest, for the first time, at the Indiana University Kokomo Art
Gallery 23 February-30 March 2003.

Anyone lucky enough to see the full exhibit in Houston last fall
remembers the throngs of people, some of them in tears, moving along
walls of display of these inspiring, hopeful, patriotic quilts. From
among the 300 quilts made and sent between September 11 and the
of October, about 125 were offered to the public in silent auction,
funds going to the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund
education for survivors of victims). It is these quilts that
the traveling exhibit.

The soft-cover book, America from the Heart, is now available and
all of the original exhibit; C&T Publishing is donating the proceeds
its sale to the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund. The book will
also be available at the exhibit.

As we draw closer to the exhibit dates I will be posting more
information regarding driving directions, gallery hours, and special
events. Watch this space...

Kokomo, Indiana


Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 20:18:07 +0100
From: "Sally Ward" <Sally.D.Ward@btinternet.com>

> It is a free market and anyone can make and sell
> anything they like--no problem with that. However, if
> the items diminish,detract from , or misinfrom the
> public about the original art form on which it is
> based.......then it is skewing the general knowedge
> about domestic folk art and quilt art and the
> perspective on the art in history.

Hmm.. which begs the question....do all those cheap and fuzzy poster
reproductions of Vincent's chair or Monet's water garden detract from
originals/misinform the public, or do they offer them an inexpensive
way of
enjoying the original and maybe whet their appetite for the real
thing? Is
intellectual snobbery at work here? I'm thinking of a friend here in
the UK
who has collected a number of beautiful vintage artisan quilts, but
proudest possession is a cheap import Lone Star, which graces her
bed. I
was horrified and truly speechless when she showed it to me ('I've
saved the
best for last') but
afterwards wondered about my reaction. She would never get near the
thing' (nor will I) and this cheap reproduction was giving her great

I'm not aligning myself with either possible answer to my question,

Sally W in UK


Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 22:06:33 -0400
From: "judygrow" <judygrow@rcn.com>

Gaye wrote.........

>Perhaps I am alone in this response, but so far, not one of those
Bauer or Ebay repro store quilts has "spoken" to me. When >I've seen
them on
beds, I've not been moved by them.

Nor am I moved by the quilts made these days by the lauded and
revered Amish
quiltmakers of Lancaster County. I've gone into a number of shopss
with quilts that they make for the market, and have seen acres of
them on
e-bay as well. None of them have"spoken" to me. Yet, the earlier
that they made before they became aware that they could trade on the
name"Amish" are gorgeous.

I'd assume that any time a personal statement of art is translated
into a
commodity made for a market and gets repeated ad infinitum, it loses
that made it fresh and interesting.

Judy in Ringoes, NJ


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